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In Real Life, people will have changed in their bodies as they grow older, and a few of the changes are near universal, to indicate at least the general age of a person.
In drawn media, these changes aren't always easy to show in the way people look in real life, so there are standards to show these changes in stylized formats.
For Anime, Manga, and Animesque shows, aging often follows this pattern:
- Child: Character is round and tubby, no difference between boys and girls. Eyes the size of saucers.
- Pre-teen: Girls develop A cup breasts. Boys develop baseball caps. Eyes begin shrinking.
- Teen: Analogous to real world adulthood. Teen boys may develop a physique to rival the Big Guys, girls will completely fill out.
- Adult: Eyes are smallest, and almond shaped, although still larger than in reality.
- Old: Slight shrinkage, wrinkles and grey hair.
- Geezer: A wrinkled prune of a person who is 3 feet (1 meter) tall, often with squinted eyes.
Anime and Manga
- Rose of Versailles does this.
- Completely ignored in La Seine no Hoshi, a Rip Off of The Rose of Versailles with Zorro elements. While the series covers about the same time span as The Rose of Versailles, none of the characters age (or change their clothes.) Most painfully obvious in the heroine's sidekick, a boy of about 11 years, who never shows any sign of maturing over the course of 20 years!
- Galaxy Express 999
- Record of Lodoss War: Particularly apparent with Parn and Deedlit (even though she's an elf!), if you look at the difference in their designs between Records and Chronicles of a Heroic Knight. In the former, Parn is barely more than a boy, all huge-eyed and smooth-faced. His design has rougher lines and more narrow eyes many years later, and the young-looking design is found in the new generation of heroes, instead, particularly in Spark.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. The Distant Finale seems to suggest that greater age gives you a squarer jawline, in addition to the requisite smaller eyes and wrinkles.
- Ooku characters tend to die young or retire, but the shogun Tsunayoshi and her companion Yoshiyasu start showing their age after a while.
- Candy Candy
- The child characters in Wandering Son age visually over the 6+ years. Their faces in particular have leaned down and become less round. Compare Nitori in elementary to him in high school.
- The Kingdom Hearts series has the teenage characters subtly but noticeably age a year, compare Sora at 14 and Sora at 15; at 14, his eyes are larger and his cheeks are chubbier.
- The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time features a seven year time skip, and has several small children who grow up into attractive men and women. Compare Link at ten with his round face and big, innocent eyes and at seventeen, with narrower eyes and more chiseled features.
- Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon follows Marth's life and begins the story with Marth at a young(er) age. His expressions in cutscenes are very calm and passive-looking, but after the second half of the game, his age seems to progress, as his hair is longer, his skin is slightly darker, and his face bears an angry, yet confident expression.
- In South Park, the kindergartners' eyes are a good 50% of their face. Older kids have smaller, but round eyes. Adults have eyes a bit smaller than that.
- Happens to Candace in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Phineas and Ferb's Quantum Boogaloo".
- In Ka Blam!!, all the adults in the Henry and June shorts have tiny eyes. The main duo, being somewhere around ten, have pretty big eyes (at least in the later seasons.
- Flashbacks in Avatar: The Last Airbender give all the main characters huge eyes (including, strangely enough, Azula) and round faces.
Anime and Manga
- Rumiko Takahashi's older characters practically define the "prune" style, e.g. Happosai and Cologne in Ranma ½, and grandmother Godai in Maison Ikkoku. In one Ranma ½ episode, Mousse gets smacked when he puts on his glasses to see Cologne, and screams "Ahhhhh! Mackerel jerky!"
- In Up, Carl is perfectly round as a child, but becomes more angular in shape as he ages until he resembles a cube. Ellie, on the other hand, remains rounded throughout.
- In Batman the Brave And The Bold episode "Sidekicks Assemble", the Teen Titans are pre-teen in the Cold Opening flashback, and then teenage in the main story.